Thursday, June 5, 2014

Once a Month Cooking

I have been busy lately. Exhaustingly busy. Obviously, since I haven't been blogging. I melted down a little (a lot) the other day, and realized I had to change something because I was just stretched way too thin. Luckily, at that exact time, my friend Cori was talking about her adventures with Once A Month Meals. No shit. Once a month cooking. I HATE cooking when I get home from work. I love to cook in general, but not after work. I can do breakfast and lunch, but I am too tired to care by dinner.

I tossed around the idea of freezer cooking, tried out the website. I got really frustrated. (I convinced myself I didn't like the recipes and the website was 'too hard'). I went back to the website on a calmer day, and then after a little patience, figured it out (it's not hard, I was in meltdown mode). It was the perfect solution. At first, I didn't like the prepared menus. They have traditional, whole foods, paleo, diet, vegetarian, baby, gluten free/dairy free, and mini menus, but no complete menu spoke to me. Once I figured out how to customize a menu to fit my tastes though, I was hooked.

The website auto populates shopping lists, prep instructions, cooking day instructions, labels, thaw instructions, storage instructions...basically everything. After my shopping day, I figured out that I spent only about 40% of what I usually spend on groceries in a month. Yes. I cut my bill by 60%!!! For an entire month of dinners!!!! (breakfast for me is yogurt and lunch is leftovers) And did I mention there was no effort involved on my part?

Now that I was invested, I had to see it through. Cooking day arrived. It was time for effort. With 12 hours of cooking ahead of me, I told myself it was worth it. This is my clean kitchen.

This is my '12 hours of cooking say what??' face

I put all my instructions up on the fridge so they were out of the way and got started.

My first 7 recipes were easy. They were 'no cook' which basically means I make a delicious marinade and/or cut up all of the veggies that go in the dish (if you are smart you cut everything the night before like they tell you to), throw it all in a bag, and throw it in the freezer. 3.5 hours and 7 meals down. Boom.

Are these labels not perfect? Even Adham, having not be in on the planning, can pull any meal out of the freezer and know exactly how to prepare it. The website generates these babies. Genius.

This is my freezer with meals 1-3 in it. I was worried about space since we just have a small fridge/freezer in the apartment.

These are gorgeous Tilapia packets. Pull them out of the freezer, instant gourmet dinner, no work for Megan. Yes please.

Freezer getting more and more full.

So my last 5 meals all involved some cooking. My remaining hours were quickly consumed. Above is the sauce for my BLT pasta (which I ate tonight. so good!). I also had to make stuffed mushrooms, meatballs, a lemon asparagus pasta, and a spaghetti bake. Sounds easy, but it was kinda involved. Particularly the mushrooms. They were rough. I think if I hadn't had them on my menu, I could have been done in 9 hours. O well. 

This is what my kitchen was looking like right about when my feet were about to blow off my body, and I realized I hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch. Poor choice. I quickly went out for Chick Fil A, took a 20 minute power nap, and was back at it.

Each thing I put in the freezer made me feel so accomplished. I don't really have words as to why. I just knew I was setting us up to eat well I guess, and that I wouldn't be resorting to spaghetti, tacos, and greek chicken because I was tired.

This was my first 'maybe I should have used a bigger pan' of the day. Had to capture it. Haha.

And then at 7:00 PM (11 hours into my cooking day), I was done. And I had an ENTIRE month of meals prepared. And they all fit in my freezer. And I was so pleased with myself, so proud. I felt like I could do anything.

I had made quite the mess, but I didn't care. Adham brought home a movie, and I finished just in time to sit down with my ice cream and crash. An exhausting, exhilarating, productive day.

After the first week of eating out of my freezer, I can tell you that it has been amazing. I have all this time that I don't even really know what to do with. I can relax (what is that?). And I am not eating the same old gross, boring, easy to make when I am tired food. Once A Month Meals has done me such a favor, I cannot begin to thank them enough. My mom has even jumped on the train. She will be having her first cook day tomorrow!


  1. I can imagine it feels great! Good for you. What time should I be there : )

  2. That is awesome! You did great! Now I'm hungry. ;)


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